Purdue University

Research Activities

Micro-scale Tumbling Magnetic (μTUM) Microrobot


The μTUM is a magnetic tumbling microrobot at the micro-scale with flexible operating modes. The microrobot has a dumb-bell shape whose largest dimension is 400 μm. When subjected to an exterior predefined magnetic field, the magnetic microagent performs a tumbling motion, driven by the interacting magnetic forces and momentums. This type of motion is used to overcome the large surface forces present at the microscale without the use of high input currents to power the external magnetic field driving coils. By switching the magnetic field during the motion cycle the agent is also able to perform a sliding locomotion that is useful for micromanipulation.

More information:

W. Jing, N. Pagano, D. Cappelleri, “A Micro-scale Magnetic Tumbling Microrobot”, ASME International Design Engineering Technical Conferences (IDETC), Chicago, IL, USA, August 12-15, 2012.

Caging for 2D and 3D Micromanipulation


Coordinated control of multiple micromanipulators for use in automated 2D and 3D micromanipulation and assembly tasks has been accomplished. Micro-scale caging grasps are planned based on the geometry of the part of interest and used for 2D micromanipulation tasks.  These grasps are then transitioned into closure grasps suitable for 3D micro-transporting tasks.

More information:

D. Cappelleri, Z. Fu. M. Fatovic, U. Shah, “Caging for 2D and 3D Micromanipulation”, Journal of Micro-Nano Mechatronics, Vol. 7, Issue 4, pp 115-129, December 2012, DOI: 10.1007/s12213- 012-0050-4.

About Multi-Scale Robotics & Automation Lab

The Multi-Scale Robotics & Automation Lab (MSRAL) is housed in the School of Mechanical Engineering at Purdue University. Under the direction of Prof. David J. Cappelleri, the MSRAL performs cutting-edge research on robotic and automation systems at various length scales: macro-scale (cm to m), meso-scale (~100’s of μm to a few mm’s), micro-scale (10’s of μm to 100’s of μm), and nano-scale (nm). Research areas of focus are multi-scale robotic manipulation and assembly tasks, mobile micro/nano robotics, bio-nano robotics, mechatronics, robotic system integration, medical robotics and devices, MEMS device design and fabrication to aid in robotics and automation tasks, automation for the life sciences, and micro/nano aerial and ground vehicle design & control.